I recently was asked if I had any real-life heroes or leaders whose qualities I would want to model in my own life? If so, who were they and what qualities did they possess?
Thought provoking question.
My Dad, Alvin, was one because of his work ethic, honesty, and love of God and family. As a farm kid in all-white Eastern Iowa, I still remember the example he set as a truck driver going to the steel mills of Gary, Indiana. No matter the age or ethnicity of the workers we met at the loading docks, he would smile, hold out his hand and ask, “How are you, my friend?”
Bob Houser was another. He was my boss as he served as board chair of a nonprofit in which I served as director. As a retired CEO of Principal Financial, he and his wife, Doris, lived in the same small Beaverdale brick home for more than 50 years, despite having the resources to live in a mansion wherever they chose. Having been a WWII bomber navigator, he placed God and family first… and lived a life of integrity and humble leadership.
Don Lamberti, retired founder and CEO of Casey’s General Stores is a man of strong Catholic faith whose business success has blessed him to be able to be a philanthropist and leader (often times quietly behind the scenes) in many important charitable causes impacting Christian education, children, and so much more in our community. Without question, he loves God, his family, and our community, and whose mentorship I greatly value.
And Governor Robert D. Ray. He is a man who loves Iowa, and Iowa deeply loves him—a leader with strong moral values and compassion. He led efforts for the legal immigration of thousands of people at risk of losing their lives trying to escape Laos. Unpopular at the time, his efforts to save thousands of boat people is now considered as one of his greatest legacies. Governor Ray has other legacies, including starting several nonprofits that impact our lives today, including one you can learn more about in this issue founded after the Iowa Sesquicentennial… Character Counts, renamed The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center in his honor.
So, who inspires you and why? What are their qualities? Or maybe I should ask, are we living our lives to inspire others?